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May 20, 2024
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HealthNews

Common Bandages May Pose Health Concerns: Explore These Alternatives, study says.

A recent study has presented damning evidence that some of the most popular bandages being sold in markets can lead to cancer and other life-altering health problems

Partnering with Environmental Health Sciences, environmental wellness blog and community, Mamavation had 40 bandages analysed by a lab certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The results revealed organic fluorine levels between 11 parts per million and 328 ppm. Among 16 bandages designed for black and brown skin tones, 10 showed signs of the presence of PFAS (Per- and Polyfluorinated substances).

These compounds have been associated with various adverse health impacts, including certain types of cancer, reduced immune system function and vaccine effectiveness, learning and developmental challenges in infants and children, reduced fertility, disruption of the endocrine system, and other health effects.

Linda S Birnbaum, scientist emeritus and former director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and National Toxicology Program commented, “It’s obvious from the data that PFAS are not needed for wound care, so it’s important that the industry remove their presence to protect the public from PFAS and opt instead for PFAS-free materials.”

But what are PFAS, and why are they considered harmful?

According to Dr Jagadish Hiremath, medical director and chairman at Aasra Hospitals, PFAS or Per- and Polyfluorinated Substances are a group of man-made chemicals that have been used in various industries around the globe since the 1940s. They are found in a wide range of consumer products like cookware, food packaging, and stain repellents due to their water and oil-resistant properties.

He says, “PFAS are considered harmful because they do not break down in the environment and can accumulate in the human body over time. Studies have linked PFAS exposure to a variety of health issues, including cancer, hormone disruption, liver damage, and developmental issues.”

Concerns about PFAS in bandages

The presence of detectable levels of PFAS in bandages is concerning, Dr Hiremath informs, because these products come into direct contact with the skin, potentially leading to dermal absorption, especially if the skin is broken or wounded. 

Continuous exposure, even in small amounts, adds to the cumulative PFAS body burden. Given their persistence, even low-level exposure to PFAS can contribute to health risks over time, making it important to scrutinise their presence in everyday products, including wound care items.

Dr Hiremath cautions, “Certain populations may be more vulnerable to the effects of PFAS exposure. Children, for instance, because of their developing bodies and higher intake of food and water relative to their body weight, may be at greater risk.” 

Individuals with compromised immune systems or pre-existing health conditions, he says, might also be more susceptible to the adverse effects of PFAS, due to potential interactions with their health conditions or treatments.

Minimising exposure to PFAS from bandages

To minimise exposure to PFAS from bandages, Dr Hiremath suggests consumers to look for and select wound care products explicitly labeled as PFAS-free. “Awareness and demand for non-toxic products can encourage manufacturers to choose safer alternatives,” he admits. Using minimal bandage material necessary for wound care and exploring natural or organic wound care products may also help reduce PFAS exposure.

You can also choose alternatives to traditional bandages including organic cotton bandages or gauze and adhesive strips made from natural, biodegradable materials. “Using sterile gauze pads with paper tape can be a safer option for individuals concerned about synthetic chemicals,” he reveals.

For minor wounds, Dr Hiremath recommends applying natural antiseptics like honey or essential oils (diluted appropriately) can be effective, though it’s important to consult healthcare professionals before trying new treatments, especially for deep or infected wounds.

Source: TheIndianExpress

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